The Second Version

30/01/09

In Perspective

According to some, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Cast Lead and the Camp X-Ray prison and other military campaigns in the same timeframe are horribly brutal, inhumane and gruesome massacres.

But when I look at history, I see a world drenched in blood. Cities razed and their citizens exterminated or taken as slaves; entire armies slaughtered on the battlefield (and often by disease, cold, famine and thirst); million tons of bombs and incendiaries dropped on the enemy without distinction between combatants and non-combatants; countryside ravaged and crops destroyed, ethnic cleansing, harsh imprisonment, torture, gratuitious violence, genocide.

Very few if any civilization or nation-states never committed any of these acts against external or domestic enemies, or even their own citizens.

Today's human nature is not very different from when the Mongols took Baghdad, or when the Japanese pillaged Nanking; the fact that a certain number of political appointees signed a document with the pompous title of "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" does not change reality - that many keep not giving a damn about other people's rights.

If anything, by historical standards the Western armies after the Vietnam War are exceptionally restrained when it comes to spilling blood and committing atrocities.

Even beyond the point of diminishing returns, because doing their best to avoid collateral damage is getting very little goodwill points for Israel and America while it can impair military effectivness (and probably eliminates the psychological impact of a ruthless use of maximum force, but this is a more complex issue).

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